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Morning Report: Daniel Cormier reveals private respects shared with Jon Jones: ‘There’s good in that dude’

2017 UFC 214 Press Conference Photo by Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

The Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones rivalry is officially a thing of the past.

As two of MMA’s all-time greatest fighters regardless of weight, Cormier and Jones’ stories can’t be told without mentions of each other. The bad blood between the pair reached boiling points that led to death threats, brawls outside the octagon, and several degrees of drama that almost sound scripted when laid out.

In 2023, Cormier is happily retired and doing his thing as a UFC color commentator. Meanwhile, Jones recently returned from a three-year layoff to capture his second divisional title, moving up to heavyweight and submitting Ciryl Gane in just over two minutes at UFC 285. The hatchet appeared buried on Jones’ end ahead of the fight, but it was afterward that made it appear otherwise.

On the call for the bout, Cormier’s on-camera reaction — along with Joe Rogan — displayed the legend looking more confused and lacking enthusiasm than he was excited. Therefore, prompting some verbal jabs from “Bones” to his old rival the following week.

“Did you see what happened after the fight? I wasn’t mad though,” Cormier told Henry Cejudo. “When he was finishing Ciryl, his back was to me and my reaction was the same reaction as Rogan, but because of our history it’s like, ‘Oh, DC is mad.’ Then he says, ‘Dude couldn’t even force a smile.’ That tells you he’s not quite ready [to leave it behind]. So, we don’t need to force him. He’s ready, but he’s not quite ready yet.

“We talked about each other’s families [during our rivalry]. But in the darkest moments, when his mother passed, when my father passed, he sent me a message. He really did. And even in that moment, I appreciated that. For all that we’ve been through, I appreciated him sending me that message as I sent a message for his mother because we understand what family is.”

Jones’ recently-ended hiatus provided some space between himself and “DC.” Unlikely to interact for any other reasons that weren’t in a professional sense, Cormier recalled feeling good about his first Jones interaction in several years.

During each fight week, the UFC commentary teams have fighter meetings to get additional insight on the competitors and for UFC 285, Cormier and Jones got a chance to catch up over the phone. The fact that it was cordial gave the Louisiana native a glimmer of hope that things were moving in a positive direction to maybe even sit down in person one day.

“He did send me a message when my father passed and when my mother passed. He did,” Cormier said. “There’s good in that dude. There really is. I just ain’t really had the opportunity to see it. But we’ll see what time brings, and if the time brings it then yeah, we’ll make sure you’re around. But hell, if we start fighting with each other you better be okay to f****** stop it. I don’t think you can stop it.

“There is good in that dude. You just gotta be able to get to it. Nobody is without fault. Everybody has messed up. I have. So, for us to cast stones at him — that’s why in those dark moments I was never trying to pile onto him. I hope he gets better, I hope this works out for him. I never tried to kick him while he was down. Now, in fight promotion, what you say is what you say. Especially when you have a history like him and I had.”

In January 2015, the rivalry officially began in the octagon, but things famously escalated in the early promotional staredown that saw Cormier and Jones scuffle through the stage several months earlier. In the end, Jones bested Cormier via a relatively one-sided unanimous decision win and the inevitable rematch came two and a half years later.

Jones initially was deemed the victor of part two against Cormier, scoring a second-round knockout from a head kick followed by ground and pound punches. Perpetually his own worst enemy, Jones’ self-inflicted damage cost him once more when he tested positive for the banned substance turinabol. “Bones” was stripped and Cormier retroactively remained the light heavyweight champion, overturning the fight to a no-contest and leaving the MMA world with somewhat of a cliffhanger ending to the epic saga.

“We had a great rivalry,” Cormier said. “But that’s to bed now. I’m not a fighter, right? I don’t really hold ill will towards him right now. I just don’t feel the need because what’s the point in it? That’s the only thing.

“I would not have much of what I have without him. He elevated my star to levels because our rivalry was so bad. It was so intense and it was so desired by people. People were rabid for me and Jones. To the point that now at 44 years old people go, ‘DC, one more.’ I’m like, ‘No, I’m 44 years old.’ But that is what happens when something that matters lasts.”


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I feel like there’s no way we don’t get a great documentary made about the careers of these two at some point, including them sitting down and talking about everything together. Not sure when that could be, but how do you not make it happen?

Happy Friday, gang. Stay happy, stay healthy, and stay positive. Have a great weekend. Thanks for reading!



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